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The sun was bright and the weather was very nice. The RM 7, half an hour journey by ferry from Port Klang felt like 10 minutes when you fell asleep almost the whole time on the way to Pulau Ketam, literally translated as the Crab Island, a small island near the city of Klang.
I was greeted by a strange smell upon reaching the Pulau Ketam jetty. Strange, but familiar smell. The sort of smell you always have when you go to a typical wet market in Malaysia. Strangely, there was no wet market anywhere in sight.
The jetty was full of old people; and bicycles, waiting in lines for somebody to choose and ride on them, to explore this island. As I walked past the jetty, together with the other 11 #tsbreakaway x-plorers and crews, I was honked by an old uncle who was riding a scooter behind me. “Tepi, tepi!” shouted the uncle asking me to step aside, and slowly, he overtook me. I had a closer look at the scooter and something was odd, it has no engine nor exhaust. No dangerous CO coming out from it.
2 minutes of walking on the stilted concrete pathway and then, there I was, standing, facing the what-looked like the busiest place of the island. The ‘heart’ of the island.
All of us x-plorers were here for a writing skills workshop with the renowned writer, Dina Zaman. After the workshop, we had time to explore this island. But I am not going to write about the workshop. I am going to share about this almost forgotten island.
As I explored the island and walked on the stilted pathway, I could see an old couple selling fried ice cream, an uncle selling ‘lala murtabak’, aunties buying vegetables. “Kita sini jual seafood saja“, said an uncle frying what looks like a fried kueh teow to me, explaining that they only sell seafood.
Founded around 1880, this island was once famous for its stilted houses and the fresh seafood that it has to offer, which explains the market-like smell when I first stepped foot on its jetty.
However, as time passed, the younger generation chose to go out from this island to go to big cities, looking for jobs which can offer more money. What left now are mostly older generation, who are loyal to the place and vowed never to leave. This is the effect of development. Everyone is chasing the so-called big dreams. The grass is always greener on the other side.
As for me, the first time I arrived and smelled the strange smell, I have fallen in love with the place. Pulau Ketam. If there is one thing that I could learn from the amazing people at Pulau Ketam, it is their simple lifestyle. They don’t need a car or a big house. They don’t need the place to be over developed. They just live with whatever they have. If only things are that easy for most of us….
Thinking that the older generation lived, grew up and got older on this island makes me realized, what a shame the younger generation are now leaving the island. It makes me realized how important it is to stick to our root, to always preserve the life that we had, not for us, but for the future generation.
And when we asked Mr. Song Sung Hwan, the councillor for the Klang Municipal Council, what is his wish for Pulau Ketam, he only had this to answer: “Rubbish. I wish that the rubbish problem can be solved here“.
We left Pulau Ketam later at the evening of the 2nd day of #TSBreakAway programme. Will I come back here again – definitely. Pulau Ketam, a sight to remember.
To go to Pulau Ketam,
Take KTM Komuter train to Port Klang station. Proceed to Jeti Pulau Ketam. Hop on the [air-conditioned] ferry heading to Pulau Ketam [RM 7 one way]. Alight at the Pulau Ketam jetty.
Thank you to Tourism Selangor for organizing the event, Canon for the camera loaned to me, Mr. Song Sung Hwan & MPK for the visit, Dina Zaman for the awesome workshop, and each and everyone who had contributed to the awesome experience. Check out http://tsbreakaway.my for further info.
-This is entry #1 for #TSBreakAway-